July 13, 2015
Well hello! I have a big garden reveal coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it might be helpful to show you where we started, and what has transpired over the last nearly three years since we started this project!
I think people are afraid of gardening because they are 1. worried they are going to kill things, or 2. they think they have a black thumb, or 3. it just seems like a lot of work. Well, the answer to number 1 is "you will", my response to number 2 is "it's all a learning process", and number 3...well, it can be. If you go into it with the mindset of "this is a trial and error process", I think you will be much better off. But just like with most things, a good plan is a great place to start.
When we moved into our house, we loved this space (pictured below) for a future garden, but before we could get started, we needed to do other things to the house like put on a roof and have working bathrooms, haha. This is the earliest photo I could find of the proposed garden - it is from July 2012. You can see the chainlink fence butts into the tall wood fence. (which was not aesthetically pleasing) You can also see lots and lots of weeds.
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It really is a shame it was in such bad shape, especially after we heard that in the 1920's and 30's, this space was a lovely rose garden that people would stop by and see. Apparently, it had quite the reputation! The previous owners of our home used the area as a dog yard of sorts, so it looked like...a dog yard.
If you have been following this site for a long time (as in since the beginning), you may remember me talking about the space as my "Dream Project".
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We tossed around some different ideas and plans and finally began the work in November of 2013. The first order of business was to remove the chainlink fence and replace it with a fence of matching height. Since the wood looked different (old vs. new), we decided to paint it all charcoal grey. I thought painting the wood coupled with plants would help hide the difference in the two fences. The ground was also tilled, the ancient laundry pole removed, and all the weeds were taken out.
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This area had a non-functional sprinkler system most likely installed in the 1940's so that was all removed, and a new sprinkler system was installed. (we used drip irrigation in the outlying beds and sprinkler heads in the raised beds - drip irrigation saves water and is more cost effective!) The plan was to create two large raised beds and a patio space for a dining table and chairs.
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In the next photo, you can see on the right a cost effective solution (much cheaper than wood fencing) for hiding the air conditioner, sprinkler box, and other outdoor items we need to store. We bought those old gates at my favorite local salvage store/yard, and after support was added, they provided a very nice screen for unsightly items.
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The gates even came painted the same color as our fence! It was uncanny how perfectly the color matched!
I feel like I need to take a moment here and thank Robbie Young from Mansfield Landscape & Sprinkler for all of his hard work on this space. Many of these jobs that were the basic foundation of the space were out of my husband and I's realm of expertise, and he was so diligent and easy to work with. Highly recommend, thanks Robbie!
Shortly after we finished the garden space, and had a few plants in the ground, we got a crazy Texas ice and snow storm. It was kind of a bummer because we ended up losing a lot of plants. (we are not used to that kind of weather here)
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But by January 2014, things had perked up a bit. The garden was still pretty bare bones, but it was still winter time, and we knew we would get more plants in the ground in the spring.
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In April of 2014, we got right to work. Last year was our first real garden experience in this house. It was a ton of work planting and planning and researching, but it was fun, too. We involved the kids in the raised beds planting, and they really enjoyed it. (my husband, my dad, the green thumb of the family, and myself planted most of the plants in the main beds)